In the 14th Psalm, the singer rebukes those who "eat up the people as they eat bread." Eating the people implies a relational distance between self and other, an objectification. Rather than recognizing people as fellow travellers up the hill of life, we treat others as things outside of ourselves to be looked upon unsympathetically and used to further personal gain. When we view others in relation to what they can do for us, rather than how we can relate to them on a basic level, we are eating them up like bread. Usually, we are not consciously doing (or even wishing) them harm, we simply do not engage in recognition. We are commanded to love our neighbor--not to just ingest him and be done. We are to relate to others, and recognize in them the divinity that we must also recognize in ourselves. The Proverbs contain further insight, denouncing those "whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men." The speaker continues with the famous horseleach's daughters (whose "quantum of wantum cannot vary," as Beckett's Wylie proved) eternally crying "Give, give," followed by a chilling list of "three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough." There is an abyss in each of us which rages and will never be filled; Blake called the human heart a "hungry gorge." Giving in to the demands of this endless hunger will get us nowhere, as it's appetite is infinite and undiscerning. We must create, renew, and relate, rather than merely consuming all around us. The world is where we make ourselves and bind up that which is broken by loving and creating. When we mindlessly devour those around us, our world ceases to be holy--it becomes a buffet.
And until you have possessed dying and rebirth, you are but a sullen guest on the gloomy earth. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Life is a process of metamorphosis, a series of deaths and transfigurations. This is where life's richness lies, and without change it is a slimy shuffle across the surface of this gloomy rock. We move in cycles of growth and decay--end and beginning are dreams. We live fully day by day, we enjoy greatly and we suffer greatly, with others and alone. If we do not live, fully and intensely, during our mortality, then why should we expect to live after it?
The road to Paradise is not a return to Eden. The covering cherub blocks the way because we cannot go backward--we must progress, individuate ourselves, and grow through metamorphosis. We must move from formless unity to organized harmony. The paradise to which we march, therefore, will be a celestial city and not a primeval garden of pleasant "nature". In Eden, we are innocent and unformed, amorphous--without form and void. When cast out of this state, we fall into divisions, boundaries--into the world of walls and clocks. We clamber through the thorns of nominalism, learning to recognize true and false, what is similar and different, what is between, and what is our own. To achieve Paradise, we must gather all that is ours, all that has broken apart from us. It is a Restoration; not a rejection of all that has come between the first paradise and the second. It is organized innocence, a return to original oneness strengthened by knowledge of self and other. Zion's walls are constructed from the red clay of Eden.